The new GeForce DirectX 11 500M models aren’t a GPU breakthrough, but the tried and true Fermi architecture will get boosted graphics and processor core speeds, meaning laptop gaming that doesn’t suck, and better application acceleration without taxing your CPU.
The only significant change in the 500M models is an improvement in graphics and processing speeds, meaning better gaming (perhaps most importantly) and better use of hardware-accelerated computing—faster Photoshopping, for instance, with less load placed on your CPU. The gaming improvements seemed substantial to us—when playing Call of Duty: Black Ops on a 500M-enabled laptop, the experience was surprisingly fun. Settings were set to moderate levels, but with such a visually intensive title, firing off shots through anything more than a slideshow is often more than you can hope for.
In NVIDIA’s own testing against Intel’s Sandy Bridge integrated graphics, the GeForce GT 540M model trounced the former in Starcraft 2, pumping 69 fps versus Intel’s 25.5, running at 1680×1050 at medium settings. Similarly the 540M beat Sandy Bridge integrated graphics in Black Ops, 56 fps to 27 under the same conditions. Now, yes, discrete versus integrated is hardly a fair fight, but the benches indicate a decent PC gaming experience for those inclined. How batteries fare will remain to be seen.
As well, NVIDIA’s mobile 3D gaming aspirations will be pushed hard alongside every other company’s dimensional dreams, meaning support for 3D laptops and TV output. [NVIDIA]